What’s the difference between sensei and shishō/shishou?
Sensei is usually the title for practitioners of an art (e.g. martial arts) while shishō or shishou often means “master” which can include practitioners and teachers in various fields like martial arts, gardening, cooking, painting, calligraphy, etc.
Sensei is a Japanese-origin word that means “one with great knowledge” or “teacher,” and this term can be used as a courtesy for addressing one’s teacher in any subject such as music, linguistics, mathematics—or even sports–since instructors are known to have achieved mastery in their specific field of study. The term “sensei” could also be used to address chefs since they are masters with years of experience in honing their craft.
Shishō (師匠) is one of the Japanese titles for “master” used in several professions like martial arts, gardening, cooking, calligraphy and painting. Unlike sensei that can be used with anyone who is an instructor or profession with knowledge in his/her area of expertise, shisho is used when one has attained near mastery of his/her skill in the said area.